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Walkin'

While our recently departed hound Buzz spent his days on the couch or bed by my desk snoozing the hours away, our Labradoodle, Pearl, occupies her time in an alternate state of consciousness while sitting near the front door staring out a narrow window.
When I say narrow I mean about four inches wide, or about one inch less than the space between her eyes. This necessitates her to look out cross-eyed, a state that doesn’t seem to bother her. While her eyes are wider apart than the window her brain is much smaller in diameter. This smallness of grey matter is reflected in her limited ability to think, thereby keeping her thoughts to something that can be expressed in two syllables or less. For example, I’m pretty sure what’s going through her mind as her shaggy head peers out the slot is “Where’s she, where’s she, . . .”
This is only slightly less sophisticated than the average Republican who can only reason in the four syllable of, “hate Obama, hate Obama.” Why this is, I’ll never get. We needed health care reform, and I’m glad someone finally tried to do something about it. Can’t we at least give it a chance before deriding it as “Obamacare?” Also, so far this president has honorably ended one war. Isn’t that better than starting two, one based on trumped-up charges of WMDs? And remember the hullabaloo over the ending of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in our armed forces? Once again he did the right thing.
The “she” that Pearl obsesses about is, of course, Sabra. Buzz was pretty much my dog, and Pearl is more my spouse’s. Sabra feeds her in the evening when she gets home from work so Pearl’s focus throughout the day is on her and getting fed. Her attention span is limited, however, and a sort of hypnotism sets in which I liken to a screen saver kicking in on a computer. She’ll sit motionless in this position for hours at a time only coming back to life if something– a leaf, a car, a visitor– moves outside the window. Then she wakes up and barks to beat the band.
Actually, I appreciate this to some extent.
Nearing my 60th birthday, the deafness that runs in my mother’s side of the family has killed the hearing in my right ear and diminished it in the other. As a result, a representative of the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstake (PCHS) could be ringing the doorbell to tell me I’ve just won $10,000,000 or a clumsy gang of thieves could be banging off with all our belongings, and I wouldn’t hear it. Buzz, when he was alive, was such a sound sleeper that he was of no use in these matters. Pearl, however, let’s me know right away that something is amiss.
The problem is the number of false alarms and her lack of an off switch.
I don’t mind checking the door to see if I am the one in 1.75 billion– the odds of winning the PCHS according to Wikipedia– to win the jackpot, but I get a little disgruntled at finding her at the door frantically barking at a ground squirrel. Or, the other day, someone left their car at our house for a couple of days, and Pearl would bark about it every 30 minutes.
But all and all, Pearl is a good dog. One of her best features is the way she’ll jump up on a stoop in our back yard while I hose her off after a walk. Buzz would start cowering the moment I turned on the faucet but Pearl not only comes and stands still but turns on command while I blast her with a hose.
Now that’s a good dog.
One other thing that I’ve become appreciative of Pearl is that she is a good walking companion. Buzz was the best in his prime, but slowed down the last year or two of his life. Not that I begrudged him that, but the truth is our walks had gradually gotten shorter and slower. And while Buzz never took to being on a leash, Pearl accepts it without issue so we can begin our walks right out the front door.
Life goes on. I think Buzz would want it that way.